SENATE

What is the Senate Intelligence Committee?

Ousted FBI Director James Comey is set to testify before the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee later this week on his former department’s probe into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Comey is expected to testify that Trump asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s former national security advisor Michael Flynn and his ties to Russia.

And his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee very well could be the catalyst for a Trump impeachment process.

Here’s what you need to know about the subcommittee Comey will face on June 8.

Who is on the committee?

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., heads the intelligence committee as its chairman with Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., as its vice chair.

The committee makeup dictates that it has eight senators from the majority party and seven from the minority party.

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The seven Republicans on the committee are: James Risch of Idaho, Marco Rubio of Florida, Susan Collins of Maine, Roy Blunt of Missouri, James Lankford of Oklahoma, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and John Cornyn of Texas.

The six Democrats on the committee are: Dianne Feinstein of California, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Angus King of Maine, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Kamala Harris of California.

Two members — one from each side of the aisle — from the Appropriations, Armed Services, Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees are included on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

What does the committee do?

The committee was created in 1976 to “oversee and make continuing studies of the intelligence activities and programs of the United States government” and to “submit to the Senate appropriate proposals for legislation and report to the Senate concerning such intelligence activities and programs,” according to its website.

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It also serves to “provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States to assure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and the laws of the United States.”

What’s the committee’s role in the Russia investigation?

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced in January that it would launch an investigation into Russia’s involvement in the presidential election.

The investigation is to include “counterintelligence concerns related to Russia and the 2016 U.S. election, including any intelligence regarding links between Russia and individuals associated with political campaigns.”

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Thus far, the investigation hasn’t found a “smoking gun,” Warner said on June 4.

“There’s a lot of smoke,” he said. “We have no smoking gun at this point. But there is a lot of smoke.”

The subcommittee also subpoenaed Flynn.

Flynn initially invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, but is expected to turn over documents by June 6 to the subcommittee.